Action-Packed Shows Might Double Your Snack Attack!

Watching TV has been widely recognized as a habit that contributes to obesity. The more time spent in front of the screen, the more chances there are to indulge in mindless snacking. According to a study from researchers at Cornell, specific television shows that are action-packed may be causing viewers to consume more food than shows with a slower pace.

In this study, it was observed that those who watched fast-paced action shows had the tendency to eat twice as much compared to viewers of other TV programs. Aner Tal, Ph.D., a researcher on this study, states, “the more distracting the program is, the more you will eat.”

Analyzing the Impact of TV Shows on Eating Habits

Around 100 people participated in the study and were asked to snack on various items, such as grapes, carrots, M&Ms, and cookies, as they watched a selected TV show. The participants viewed either “The Island” (known as an action show) with and without sound or a segment of the “Charlie Rose Show” (a non-action talk show).

When comparing the snacking habits of the participants, it was discovered that those watching “The Island” consumed almost double the amount of snacks (98% more) than their counterparts watching the talk show. Even the participants watching “The Island” without sound ate 36% more.

On average, the viewers of “The Island” consumed a significant 354 calories while watching the show. In comparison, those watching “The Island” without sound consumed 314 calories, and people watching “Charlie Rose” only took in 215 calories.

According to Tal, “More stimulating programs that are fast-paced and include many camera cuts draw you in and distract you from what you are eating. They can make you eat more because you’re paying less attention to how much you are putting in your mouth.”

Tips to Avoid Overeating While Watching TV

Overeating during a binge-watching session can be detrimental to health, leading to obesity and other complications. Bearing the results of this study in mind, it is crucial to be aware of snacking habits while watching TV, particularly during action shows that are highly captivating.

Here are some practical tips to help you create healthier snacking habits while watching TV:

  1. Pre-portion your snacks – One of the most effective ways to prevent overeating is to measure your snacks and place them in a small container or bowl. By doing this, you can control the amount of food you consume and avoid the temptation to eat more than necessary.

  2. Choose healthy snacks – Replace calorie-laden treats with healthier options such as fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, whole-grain crackers, and a small portion of nuts. This not only curbs your appetite but also provides essential nutrients that can benefit your body.

  3. Drink water – Sometimes, we mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking water throughout your TV watching session can help prevent overeating. Along with keeping you hydrated, water also helps fill your stomach, making you feel fuller and less likely to grab additional snacks.

  4. Break the habit of eating while watching TV – If possible, avoid eating snacks or meals in front of the TV altogether. Make a conscious effort to eat in a dedicated dining area without any screen distractions. This will allow you to focus on your meals, enjoy your food more, and help prevent overeating.

  5. Limit your TV watching time – By setting a cap on your daily TV viewing time, you reduce the opportunities for unhealthy snacking. Substitute TV time with activities such as walking, reading, or exercising to promote overall health and well-being.

Making these deliberate changes to your snacking habits while watching TV can significantly improve your overall health and help prevent obesity. By taking control of what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat, you can avoid the unhealthy consequences of indulging in excessive snacking during your favorite shows.